Sunday, February 28, 2010

Denver Flophouse

Not all hosteling experiences are warm and fuzzy. A few days ago, I stayed at a Denver "hostel" listed on that was little more than an urban flophouse.

Here are my annotated photos of the 11th Street Hotel in Denver, Colorado.

I didn't go into this blind. The reviews at HostelWorld gave me a good idea what to expect, but I didn't have many options. I was flying into Denver at 9pm and had to be in the suburbs at 7am the next day for a business engagement. All I needed was a place to sleep for about 7 hours. I had previously tried to sleep at the Denver airport, but this was less than optimal, since all seating there has armrests. (I would have to sleep on the carpeted floor, which just too hard for sustained sleep.) There was a legitimate youth hostel in Denver, but the front desk there closed at 10pm, and I preferred not to make special arrangements with them (and pay a fee) for my late arrival. Another option was to take the city bus to a Motel 6, but that would have taken me an hour more each way and eaten into my sleep time. Instead, with a sense of adventure, I tried this place.

The hotel itself could pass for a funky hostel in Europe, but instead of lodging with German and Australian tourists, I was staying in a room full of local men who were going nowhere. Since I see myself as the "up and coming" homeless, I'm not thrilled to be associated with the down-and-out homeless, who are the clientele of this place. The men staying here were working and paying rent, but "recently released from prison" could probably describe most of them.

I have never spent a night in prison, but sleeping in the windowless 12-bed basement dorm gave me a feeling for it. Men were coming and going all night, and even those who were sleeping were very loud, snoring and talking in their sleep. A man two beds away from me kept shouting out, "I wanna fucking KILL somebody!" Not a pleasant environment in which to sleep, and I didn't. I slept no more than three hours, than got up to work on my computer.

I didn't feel afraid for my safety so much as being a fish out of water. This hotel seemed relatively clean and well-run for a transient hotel, but it's not a place that I or any other literate traveler should be hanging out. It wasn't the hotel itself but the clientele who made the difference, and the clientele here was dysfunctional enough to put me on alert. You can't really relax in those circumstances.

Whenever you stay in a hostel in the USA, you have to make sure that they have a mechanism in place to keep out the local riffraff who would take advantage of the low rates. For example, some US hostels require you to have both a passport and an out-of-state ID. This keeps out the local druggies who couldn't even conceive of getting a passport.

The rent was $16 a night, and for once I got what I paid for! In retrospect, I probably should have stayed at the airport! See the photo album above for my comments and my final HostelWorld review.


  1. Most hostels offer accommodation in dormitories, or shared rooms.

    Hoteles Jerusalem

  2. Individual rooms in a hostel tend to be small and usually don't provide services like housekeeping.

    Pousada Buzios

  3. I know the house you are talking about. Its on 11th and I always assumed it was a group home for recovering alcoholics. Seriously.